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Congress scraps Obama rules on coal mining, guns
AP Feb-03-2017 284 0


The Republican-controlled Congress on Thursday scrapped Obama-era rules on the environment and guns, counting on a new ally in the White House to help reverse years of what the GOP calls excessive regulation.

The Senate gave final approval to a measure eliminating a rule to prevent coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams, while the House backed a separate resolution doing away with extended background checks for gun purchases by some Social Security recipients with mental disabilities.

The Senate's 54-45 vote sends the repeal of the stream protection rule to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it. The gun measure awaits Senate action.

Republicans and some Democrats say the coal-mining rule could eliminate thousands of coal-related jobs and ignores dozens of federal, state and local regulations already in place.

The Interior Department, which announced the rule in December, said that it would protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby waters.

The vote was the first in a series of actions Republicans are expected to take in coming weeks to reverse years of what they call excessive regulation during President Barack Obama's tenure. Rules on fracking, federal contracting and other issues also are in the cross-hairs as the GOP moves to void a host of regulations finalized during Obama's last months in office.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the stream rule "an attack against coal miners and their families" and said it would have threatened coal jobs and caused major damage to communities in Kentucky and other coal-producing states.

"The legislation we passed today will help stop this disastrous rule and bring relief to coal miners and their families," McConnell said.

Democrats called the vote an attack on clean water and a clear win for big coal-mining companies and other polluters.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said the stream rule had nothing to do with the decline of coal, which faces stiff competition from cheap natural gas.

"This rule was not in place" when coal production began declining in the past half-dozen years, Cantwell said.

In the House, the issue was an Obama rule extending background checks for disabled Social Security recipients mentally incapable of managing their own affairs. The House voted 235-180 to scuttle it.

Under the rule, the Social Security Administration had to provide information to the gun-buying background check system on recipients with a mental disorder so severe they cannot work and need someone to handle their benefits. The rule, also finalized in December, would have affected an estimated 75,000 beneficiaries.

"There is no evidence suggesting that those receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are a threat to public safety," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

"Once an unelected bureaucrat unfairly adds these folks to the federal background check system, they are no longer able to exercise their Second Amendment right," he said.

After the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama directed the Justice Department to provide guidance to agencies regarding information they are obligated to report to the background check system.

In Newtown, 20 children and six educators were shot to death when a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. The gunman had earlier killed his mother inside their home, and he used a gun and ammunition that she had purchased. His mental health problems have been extensively reported since the shooting.

Democrats said Republicans were doing the bidding of the National Rifle Association, which opposed the Social Security Administration's rule.

"These are not people just having a bad day," Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said. "These are not people simply suffering from depression or anxiety or agoraphobia. These are people with a severe mental illness who can't hold any kind of job or make any decisions about their affairs, so the law says very clearly they shouldn't have a firearm."

The NRA said overturning the regulation will protect a broad class of vulnerable citizens from government overreach. And the American Civil Liberties Union agreed, telling lawmakers that a disability should not constitute grounds for the automatic denial of any right or privilege, including gun ownership.

Republicans are employing a rarely used tool to roll back some of the rules issued in the final months of Obama's tenure. The Congressional Review Act provides a temporary window for a simple majority of both chambers to invalidate a rule. Trump would have to sign the disapproval measure for a regulation to be deemed invalid.

The law also prevents the executive branch from imposing substantially similar regulations in the future.

On the coal mining vote, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the sole Republican to oppose the repeal measure, which was supported by four Democrats: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. All four face re-election next year in states Trump won.


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YAMICHE ALCINDOR Dec-05-2017 133 0
Representative John Conyers Jr., who faces allegations that he sexually harassed former employees, announced Tuesday that he will leave Congress immediately, and he endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him.

Mr. Conyers, the longest-serving current member of the House and the longest-serving African-American in history, called into a local radio show on Tuesday to announce, “I am retiring today.”

“I am in the process of putting together my retirement plans. I will have more about that very soon,” Mr. Conyers said from a hospital in Michigan.

He continued to deny that he had harassed any of his former employees and said he did not know where the allegations came from.

“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we are going through now,” Mr. Conyers said. “This too shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children.”

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, also announced Mr. Conyers’s retirement on the House floor Tuesday morning, saying Mr. Conyers had informed Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader. He also informed Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan.

The decision sets up a battle within the Conyers family for his Detroit-area House seat. Ian Conyers, a Michigan state senator and the grandson of Mr. Conyers’s brother, said he also plans to run for the seat held by his 88-year-old great-uncle.

“His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health,” Ian Conyers, 29, said.

The congressman, who took his Michigan seat in the House in 1965, has already stepped aside as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee amid swirling allegations of sexual improprieties. He has been facing intense pressure to resign.

Mr. Conyers, however, remained protective of his time in Congress. “I am very proud of the fact that I am the dean of the Congress,” he said. He appreciated the “the incredible, undiminished support” that he had received from his state and the country as a whole, he said.

He also did not waver from his stance that he did nothing wrong and called the accusations against him false. “Whatever they are, they are not accurate. They are not true,” he said. “I cannot explain where they came from.”

Mr. Conyers also went on to say the allegations were just part of life as a lawmaker.

“This goes with the issue of politics, the game of politics which we are in,” he said. “We take what happens. We deal with it. We pass on and move on forward as we keep going trying to make as much as we can of this tremendous opportunity that has been given to me for so long.”

Mr. Ryan and Ms. Pelosi had each said Mr. Conyers should resign after a woman who settled a sexual harassment claim against him said on television that the congressman had “violated” her body, repeatedly propositioned her for sex and asked her to touch his genitals. Other former staff members have since come forward to say he harassed them or behaved inappropriately.

Ian Conyers said that despite the accusations, he believes Michigan voters will reward his family’s work in politics by electing him.

The congressman “still enjoys healthy support in our district,” Ian Conyers said.

He added, “People are ready to support our dean and to support our family as we continue to fight, as we have for leading up to a century, for people from Southeast Michigan.”

The elder Mr. Conyers called into “The Mildred Gaddis Show,” a local radio program, to make the announcement. His decision comes as several other lawmakers face allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Representative Joe Barton, a Republican and the Texas delegation’s most senior House member, announced last week in an interview with The Dallas Morning News that he would not seek re-election after sexually suggestive online messages that he sent to a constituent came to light.

Representative Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas, is also facing pressure after it was revealed last week that he used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim with his former communications director, Lauren Greene. She accused him of regularly making comments to gauge her interest in a sexual relationship, including saying he was having “sexual fantasies” about her.

And last week, an Ohio Army veteran became the fifth woman to accuse Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, of inappropriate touching. Senior House Democrats have also begun calling for Mr. Franken to resign.
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Greg Price Nov-02-2017 145 0
Hillary Clinton’s campaign took over the Democratic National Committee's funding and day-to-day operations early in the primary season and may have used that power to undermine her rival Senator Bernie Sanders, according to the party's one-time interim chairwoman.

The DNC official, Donna Brazile, now a political analyst, wrote in Politico Magazine on Thursday that she discovered an August 2015 agreement between the national committee and Clinton’s campaign and fundraising arm that gave Clinton “control (of) the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised” in exchange for taking care of the massive debt leftover from President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign.

It wasn't illegal, Brazile said, "but it sure looked unethical."

"If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead," Brazile wrote. "This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity."

Brazile wrote that she had “promised” Sanders to find out if the DNC had intentionally “rigged” the primary system in order to prop up Clinton and assure she became the nominee. That assertion first popped up after the DNC’s emails, hacked by Russians, had been published online and showed former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others may have tipped the scales for the Democrat Clinton versus Sanders, an independent seeking the Democratic Party nod.

“I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff,” Brazile wrote. "I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement.”

Brazile, a former CNN contributor who was later dismissed after it was discovered she had forked over debate questions to Clinton’s campaign, claimed when she took over as party chairwoman, the DNC was $24 million in debt. Clinton’s campaign, according to Brazile, assumed that debt with its own fundraising.

“Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance,” according to Brazile.

Normally, candidates take over their respective party’s operations after securing the nomination, but Brazile wrote Clinton had done so almost 15 months before last year’s election.

The timeline of when all this allegedly occurred was not fully explained by Brazile, but she wrote that the discovery was made “weeks” before the election. She said she told Sanders what she found out and that he took the supposed information “stoically.”

Brazile took over as interim DNC chair, a spot now officially held by Tom Perez, back in July 2016 after Wasserman Schultz resigned.

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Debra Cassens Weiss Oct-31-2017 177 0
Former President Barack Obama has been called for jury duty, and he reportedly plans to show up.

Obama was called for jury duty in Cook County, which includes the city of Chicago, report the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Obama has a home in the city’s Kenwood neighborhood.

Chief Judge Timothy Evans told county commissioners on Friday that Obama plans to appear for jury duty next month. Evans did not give an exact date or specify the courthouse where Obama will appear.

Obama was also called to jury duty in January 2010, but he was unable to make it amid “a busy start to his second year as president,” the Sun-Times reports.
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Jacqueline Thomsen Sep-26-2017 194 0
Former President Obama said dropping his oldest daughter Malia off at college was a very difficult moment for him as a father, comparing it to "open-heart surgery."

Obama said an event for the Beau Biden Foundation Monday that when he brought Malia Obama to start her freshman year at Harvard University, he was proud of himself for not crying in front of her.

"For those of us who have daughters, it just happens fast. I dropped off Malia at college, and I was saying to Joe and Jill [Biden] that it was a little bit like open-heart surgery," Obama said, CNN reported Tuesday.

"I was proud that I did not cry in front of her. But on the way back, the Secret Service was off, looking straight ahead, pretending they weren't hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose. It was rough."

Obama said that while dropping his eldest child off at college was difficult, he called the experience "a reminder that, at the end of our lives, whatever else we've accomplished, the things that we'll remember are the joys that our children - and hopefully way later, our grandchildren - bring us."

Obama has often praised his daughters Malia and Sasha, calling them "amazing" women who managed to handle "the burden of years in the spotlight so easily" during his farewell address in Chicago earlier this year.

"Of all that I've done in my life, I'm most proud to be your dad," he said.
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John Bowden Sep-10-2017 150 0
President Trump's Chief of Staff Gen. The New York Times reported on Friday that Kelly has created a "no-fly list" of aides who previously wandered into meetings unannounced and uninvited, who no longer have that power. Manigault, the Times reported, is chief among them.

In charge of this list is Kirstjen Nielsen, Kelly's longtime aide, who was recently appointed as an assistant to the president and his principal deputy. Nielsen is described in the article as "brusque" and "no-nonsense," and in charge of wrangling aides on Trump's outer circle.

Manigault has served as Trump's chief advisor on African-American issues in the White House, and earlier this month attacked the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for "showboating" and refusing to meet with Trump.

"Coming to the table over and over again to work through these issues is the only effective way to get where they wanted to go," Manigault told Fox Business Network's Charles Payne.

"And instead, they're showboating and they're actually shorting out their constituents that they committed to represent by not coming to meet with the president," she said in August.
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Tom O'Connor Sep-03-2017 874 0
The White House announced Friday it's switching up the format of an upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and representatives of historically black colleges. The move comes as his administration continues to face deep criticism over its polarizing views on race relations in the U.S.

While the White House statement did not detail what modifications were being made, it did hint that the administration was looking to downsize Trump's meeting with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs). Trump found early success in reaching out to these schools, which were at times critical of his predecessor, but the Republican leader's attacks on their funding, controversial comments following last month's deadly white nationalist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia and his poor approval rating among black communities in general have strained this relationship.

"Responding to suggestions and feedback from many key stakeholders, the White House initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will modify its planned conference to best meet the current needs of HBCUs, their students and the broader HBCU community, " the administration said.

"This more intimate HBCU week will feature a series of strategic meetings for students and leaders to share their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges facing the HBCU community. The events will also focus on how the Administration can best work and support HBCU schools and students," it added.

Just over a month after coming to office earlier this year, Trump signed an executive order designed to boost federal funds for HCBUs. The move was seen as an opportunity for the Trump administration to win support of an influential black organization that often criticized his predecessor, President Barack Obama, for not sufficiently addressing the community's needs, despite him being the first black U.S. president. Trump's support, however, was short-lived.

The administration did not increase funds and actually cut Pel grant reserves and other crucial investment HBCUs had asked for, according to The Washington Post. In May, Trump signed a federal budget that controversially included language at the end suggesting he questioned the constitutionality of funding black colleges in the first place.

Recent national events have also highlighted the president's troubled relationship with a community he once famously tried to court on the campaign trail a year ago by asking "What the hell do you have to lose?"

On August 12, a man with white supremacist sympathies ran over a crowd of counter-protesters who were demonstrating against a massive far-right rally that swept the city of Charlottesville, Virginia. One woman was killed and over a dozen more injured. Trump condemned violence "on both sides" of the rally, remarks that garnered him considerable scorn even from within his own party.

These troubles have followed him to Washington. The Congressional Black Caucus may soon become one of the leading voices on the Hill calling for Trump's removal from office. Democratic Representative and Black Caucus leader Cedric Richmond of Louisiana said last month he was considering joining existing efforts to remove the president due to issues with Trump's "competency and fitness to serve."

He also vowed that the caucus would "keep its foot on the Trump administration’s neck by calling their racist and discriminatory policies what they are."

A poll released earlier this week by The Economist and market research company YouGov revealed that 57 percent of people in the U.S. think Trump doesn't care about the needs of black people. Among black respondents, three out of four said he either didn't care much or "not at all."


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YAMICHE ALCINDOR Aug-22-2017 234 0
Gregory Cheadle, the man whom Donald J. Trump famously called “my African-American” at a California campaign rally, watched this month as now-President Trump praised “the good people on both sides” of the deadly melee in Charlottesville, Va., and he decided that possessive word “my” was in grave danger.

His backing for the president is on “life support,” he said.

Shermichael Singleton’s support has flatlined. Mr. Singleton was fired from his job as a senior adviser for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in February after previous writings critical of Mr. Trump came to light, yet he remained supportive. No more.

As the president heads to Phoenix on Tuesday to preach national unity at a campaign-style rally, even ardent supporters in the African-American community say the ties that once connected them to Mr. Trump have frayed badly.

“It’s difficult to continue to have hope for President Trump,” Mr. Singleton said. “It’s difficult to focus on complex policy issues when you have a country that is falling apart. It’s difficult to focus on health care. It’s difficult focus on the economy. It’s difficult to focus on infrastructure when you have people who dislike other people because of their ethnicity.”

“These people,” he said, “were waving Nazi flags.”

About a dozen interviews with black conservatives like Mr. Singleton revealed the tough question they are wrestling with: How can blacks who have defended the Republican Party against accusations of racism for decades remain loyal to a president who has, wittingly or unwittingly, boosted and buoyed the racists?

Some have answered by withdrawing their support. The only black Republican in the Senate, Tim Scott of South Carolina, criticized Mr. Trump by telling Vice News that his “moral authority is compromised.”

Some black conservatives, prominent and not-so-prominent, are weighing whether to leave the party altogether because they fear that under Mr. Trump’s leadership, Republicans may be complicit in espousing racism. Even after the ouster of Stephen K. Bannon, who as the president’s chief strategist was accused of pushing white nationalist views into the West Wing, they say that Mr. Trump has to reckon with his response to the violence and his history of taking controversial racial stances.

If he wants absolution, they say, he needs to show contrition.

Many black Republicans and their families have personally experienced racism — and in some cases witnessed violence perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan and other supremacist groups that lynched thousands of people, beat and murdered civil rights marchers, and supported segregationist policies that held African-Americans back.

Black conservatives balked at Mr. Trump’s lament that is was “sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” an uncompromising defense of Confederate memorials.

And they fretted that he and his administration have made “law and order” a centerpiece of their response to Charlottesville.

“The ‘tough on crime’ phrase in my mind is nothing more than a code phrase for imprisoning blacks and people of color,” Mr. Cheadle said, before criticizing Mr. Trump for hiring only a handful of black people in the West Wing. “Mr. Trump waxes eloquent about providing jobs as the panacea for the racial divide and curing the woes of the inner city. The president would do well to lead by example.”
The majority of black Republicans interviewed said they would continue to support the president even as they criticize him. Most said they hope that Mr. Trump will prove his critics wrong and usher in a new phase of conservative policies that will overhaul the tax code, create new jobs, transform the health system and revamp the country’s entitlement programs.

Several polls show that the majority of Republicans agreed with Mr. Trump’s response, despite the intense backlash he received. And some African-Americans are in that camp.

“I don’t know that you can designate everybody who went to the rally from the camp of KKK as being nasty, mean, or say that their intention is to physically assault people,” said Chuck Linton, 70, a retired military veteran from Baltimore and an African-American. “I know that a lot of them, their intention is to be violent, but I don’t think all of them are.”

“The white supremacists and the left wing, and the ring wing and the middle wing are all the same anyway,” he scoffed.

But for Gianno Caldwell, a Republican political consultant whose grandfather moved to Chicago from Arkansas in part to escape the Klan, Mr. Trump’s response to Charlottesville was personal. Mr. Caldwell said he could not sleep the night of the raucous news conference when the president adamantly defended his “blame on both sides” position. He wept the next day on Fox News.

“I knew after the news conference that he was going to want to see some positive coverage, probably some black folks in front of the screen saying really nice things about how he is awesome and he rocked that news conference,” Mr. Caldwell said of Mr. Trump. “And I certainly wasn’t going to be used as a puppet.”

Mr. Caldwell added that it was “hard to defend President Trump when you know that no matter what happens in some days or weeks, he is going to step on the message and say something ridiculous and change the conversation.”

Going forward, he said, “If there is a position that I can agree with him on, I will, but it is going to be with a much more critical viewpoint then there was before.”

His position echoed Mr. Scott, who followed his Vice interview by saying on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the president could “regain” his moral authority by sitting down with “folks who have a personal experience, a deep connection to the horror and the pain of this country’s provocative racial history.”
Quardricos Driskell, a Republican federal lobbyist and a religion and politics professor at George Washington University, never supported the president and said he believed early in the campaign that Mr. Trump held discriminatory views.

“The moral dilemma I face at this very moment and the question I have to wrestle with is Trump being the head of the Republican Party and yet courting and being complicit with this very small group that has always been at the fringes of our society,” said Mr. Driskell, who remains a Republican. “He has now helped to usher them into the mainstream. What does that mean as a black man who happens to be a Republican and happens to believe in conservative values and principles?”

Liberal activists say black Republicans have been ignoring Mr. Trump’s long history of racially offensive behavior. Mr. Trump settled a Justice Department suit that charged the family business with housing discrimination and falsely accused the nation’s first black president of being born in Kenya.

“We are in the predicament that we are in now because of the fact that people did not read the writing on the wall,” said Tamika D. Mallory, a gun control activist and a chairwoman of the Women’s March on Washington.


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William Douglas Aug-22-2017 654 0
The Congressional Black Caucus, a formidable bloc of lawmakers with a big say in the fate of President Donald Trump and his legislation, Monday sent him a terse, clear message: We don’t think you understand us at all.

The caucus’ chairman Monday urged cancellation of next month’s highly anticipated meeting between White House officials and leaders of the nation’s historically black colleges. And he plans to have the 49-member caucus meet when Congress returns in two weeks to discuss whether to back Democratic-led efforts to impeach Trump.

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., the caucus chairman, said the president’s remarks after the deadly Aug. 12 protest in Charlottesville show he has no commitment to the schools or the African American community.

Richmond said the caucus was outraged by Trump’s assertion of “blame on both sides” for the violent rally dominated by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

“You can make an argument based on pure competency and fitness to serve, and that’s the conversation the caucus will have,” Richmond told reporters in a conference call Monday. The caucus includes 46 House Democrats, Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Republican Rep. Mia Love of Utah.

“Am I concerned about high crimes and misdemeanors?” Richmond asked. “Absolutely. Am I concerned about this president’s fitness to serve? Absolutely.”

Republicans control 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats, and 240 of the House’s 435 seats, and there’s been no GOP talk of impeachment.

Trump has received heavy criticism both inside and outside of government for not forcefully condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the immediate aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville.

He disbanded two business advisory panels after several of its members, CEOs of top American companies, quit the panels resigned because of Trump’s response to the Charlottesville protest.
Richmond said what does not need to wait for a group discussion is Trump scrap a National HBCU Week Conference that administration officials planned for Sept. 17 to 19 in Washington.

The event is scheduled as a follow-up of sorts to Trump’s HBCU Initiative, a plan he announced with great fanfare in February.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump signed an executive order for the initiative with more than six dozen black college presidents surrounding him. Its chief aim was to move responsibilities for HBCUs out of the Department of Education and into the White House with an executive director in charge.

Six months later, most of the HBCU portfolio remains in the Education Department and an executive director has not been named.

“Not only do I think it should be postponed, it shouldn’t have been happening in the first place,” Richmond said. “This White House isn’t serious about improving our HBCUs. They brought all those HBCU presidents to town, they took a picture in the Oval Office, and then they did nothing.”

Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., was the first lawmaker to call for next month’s meeting to be postponed.
She said last week that because of Trump’s handling of the events in Charlottesville and “zero progress on any of (the HBCUs’) priorities, it would be highly unproductive to ask HBCU presidents to come back to Washington.”

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, an HBCU advocacy group that has been supportive of Trump’s outreach toward the schools, agreed.

“There is pretty strong consensus that the White House should consider postponing” next month’s meeting, Marshall College Fund President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., wrote in a letter Friday to Omarosa Manigault-Newman, director for communications for the White House’s Office of Public Liaison.

Taylor said the ability of HBCU leaders to engage with representatives from federal agencies could be “overshadowed” by “concerns related to recent national events, ultimately making the conference counterproductive.”

Richmond criticized Manigault-Newman, questioning the value of dealing with the former reality television show celebrity who has served as Trump’s liaison to the African-American community since the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Omarosa is still pretending to have influence with this president,” he said. “I’m just surprised that she’s there as an African-American woman after his latest comments.”

Richmond’s comment reflects the terse relationship between the CBC and Trump. The caucus met with Trump in March. Afterward, Richmond said the CBC and the president shared similar goals but strongly disagreed on “the route to get there.”

The caucus rejected an invitation by Manigault-Newman for a follow-up meeting with Trump in June because “we have seen no evidence that your administration acted on our calls for action, and we have in fact witnessed steps that will affirmatively hurt black communities,” Richmond wrote in a letter.

At least three CBC members, Reps. Al Green, D-Texas., Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Gwen Moore, D-Wis., have called for Trump’s impeachment.

Green said in June that Trump obstructed justice when he fired former FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating alleged Russian meddling in last year’s election. Moore last week cited Trump’s response to Charlottesville as proof he’s unfit for the Oval Office.

“For the sake of the soul of our country,” we must come together to restore our national dignity that has been robbed by Donald Trump’s presence in the White House,” she said last week. “My Republican friends, I implore you to work with us within our capacity as elected officials to remove this man as our commander-in-chief and help us move forward from this dark period in our nation’s history.”
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John Wagner Aug-13-2017 181 0
President Trump is often quick to respond to terrorizing acts of violence.
As news broke of a terrorist attack in Paris in November 2015, Trump immediately tweeted that he was praying for “the victims and hostages.” Very soon after a shooting at an Orlando nightclub in June 2016, Trump tweeted that he was “right on radical Islamic terrorism.”

But he kept quiet Saturday morning as a protest led by white nationalists, who arrived with torches and chants in Charlottesville, on Friday night, turned violent. The cable networks that he usually watches showed footage of increasingly violent clashes between the white nationalists, some of whom looked like soldiers because they were so heavily armed, and the counterprotesters who showed up to challenge them.

He kept quiet as David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, declared that the scene in Charlottesville is a “turning point” for a movement that aims to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”

The president kept quiet as Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) declared a state of emergency — and as Trump’s own wife responded, writing in a tweet that “no good comes from violence.”

Cable news commentary, Twitter and the inboxes of White House spokesmen quickly filled with this question: Where is the president?

Then, at 1:19 p.m. in New Jersey, Trump took a break from his working vacation at his private golf club to tweet: “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”

Trump has long tiptoed around the issue of white supremacy and has yet to provide a full-throttled rebuke of those who invoke his name. He had to be repeatedly pushed to denounce Duke after the former KKK leader endorsed him and praised him.

Trump’s candidacy excited many white nationalists, who were thrilled to hear Trump mock the Black Lives Matter movement on the campaign trail and declare that “all lives matter.” They rallied behind his promises to build a wall on the southern border, reduce the number of foreigners allowed into the country and pressure everyone in the country to speak English and say “Merry Christmas.” And they celebrated Trump selecting Stephen K. Bannon as his chief strategist, who formerly ran the right-wing Breitbart News and advocated for what he calls the “alt-right” movement.

About two hours after the president’s tweet, Trump expanded with four-minute statement that began: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” He then added for emphasis: “On many sides.”

When asked what the president meant by “on many sides,” a White House spokesperson responded: “The President was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides. There was violence between protesters and counterprotesters today.” When pressed on what exactly the president saw or heard from the counterprotesters that was bigoted or hateful, the spokesman did not respond.

Later in the evening, Trump offered his condolences to a victim and "best regards to all of those injured."

Trump never used the words “white supremacy” or “white nationalism.” He didn’t detail what acts or words he considers to be hateful or bigoted. He didn’t mention the vehicle that had driven into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville — a tactic that has been repeatedly used by Islamic State terrorists. He scolded both sides and treated their offenses as being equal. He was vague enough that his statement could be interpreted in a number of different ways.

“Did Trump just denounce antifa?” tweeted Richard Spencer, who helped organize the protest in Charlottesville, using a term short for “anti-fascist” to describe violent liberal protesters.

But many other Americans wanted their president to be crystal-clear when it comes to white supremacy and what they were witnessing in Charlottesville. The president’s tweet and statement were quickly questioned and protested.

“There is only one side,” tweeted former vice president Joe Biden.

Many Democrats were more critical of Trump.

“The President’s talk of violence ‘on many sides’ ignores the shameful reality of white supremacism in our country today, and continues a disturbing pattern of complacency around such acts of hate,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

During last year’s campaign, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sought to make white nationalists’ support for Trump a liability.

One a single day last August, her campaign released a video that featured Ku Klux Klan members and other white supremacists touting Trump’s candidacy — then gave a speech condemning past racially inflammatory remarks by Trump and his support among the “alt-right,” which she described as an “emerging racist ideology.”

In a series of tweets Saturday, Clinton said her “heart is in Charlottesville today” and added that “the incitement of hatred that got us here is as real and condemnable as the white supremacists in our streets.”

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R), whose daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is Trump’s press secretary, tweeted: “ ‘White supremacy’ crap is worst kind of racism-it’s EVIL and perversion of God’s truth to ever think our Creator values some above others.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) both urged the president to use the words “white supremacists” and to label this as a terrorist attack.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) released a strongly worded statement that said, in part: “White supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals that define us as a people and make our nation special.”

And Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) tweeted: “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

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